Vineyard with hills in the background

Hunter Valley Food and Wine Festival

Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival is back and it’s bigger than ever. It is the much anticipated annual event which showcases the region’s diverse wine and food culture with a series of themed activities throughout May and June.

A food festival is always great, but a food festival that runs for two months is even better! Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival is the perfect antidote to cure those winter blues. It provides you with the chance to wine and dine with leading Hunter Valley winemakers and chefs, take part in an array of fun and interactive classes to fine tune your culinary skills, or if you’re after a more relaxing experience, simply curl up beside an open fire with a glass of premium Hunter Valley wine and a cheese plate.

Here’s what you need to know

How to get there

Drive times and distance
Newcastle – Cessnock | 54km | 1 hour
Sydney – Cessnock | 160km | 2 hours
Byron Bay – Cessnock | 750km | hours
Brisbane – Cessnock | 823km | 10 hours
Melbourne Cessnock | 997km | 12 hours

Driving from Sydney
Over Sydney Harbour Bridge and follow the A1 (Pacific Highway) towards Hornsby. Before Hornsby (at Wahroonga) take the M1 (Pacific Motorway) north towards Newcastle and take one of three exits to the Hunter Valley Vineyards.

Route 1: After 120km (1 hour 15 mins), exit the M1 at the Newcastle Interchange and take the M15 (Hunter Expressway) and follow the M15 until you reach the Lovedale Road exit (24km), the Wine Country Drive exit (36km) or the Hermitage Road exit (48km).
Route 2: After 100km (1 hour), exit the M1 at the B82 (Freemans Drive) exit ramp and follow the signs along the B82 to Cessnock/Hunter Valley Vineyards.
Route 3: After 40km (20 minutes), exit the M1 (Pacific Motorway) at the Calga Interchange (Peats Ridge) and follow Tourist Drive 33 (TD33). This route will take you through scenic mountains and into the Hunter Valley at the historic town of Wollombi.

Click here to view and download the official Hunter Valley map and touring guide.

By Plane
If you are travelling in style (or can afford to!), Cessnock Airport is the closest airport, based in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country. However it is accessible by private charter & helicopters only.  For domestic flights, Newcastle Airport is approximately 45 minutes drive from Hunter Valley Wine Country. Flights depart from Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane & Melbourne daily direct to Newcastle.

Highlights of this year’s program

Burning of the Barrel
Glandore Estate Wines When the sun beings to set, Glandore Estate lights the flame on the annual Burning of the Barrel bonfire! Warm up beside the blazing bonfire with a drop of Hunter Valley Shiraz. Saturday June 29

Olive Long Table Luncheon
Whispering Brook Wine and Olive Discovery A sumptuous Mediterranean-inspired menu with wine, live music, a tutored walking tour through the olive grove and guest speaker included. Guests will enjoy an incredible dining experience by EXP’s Frank Fawkner. Saturday June 1.

Hunter Valley Wine Festival
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley The seventh annual festival held in the picturesque grounds of Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley with more than 60 exhibitors including wine, food, beer and cider. Saturday June 29.

Semillon, Shiraz and Cheese Matching Experience
De Iuliis Wines To showcase its award-winning wines, De Iuliis has paired two Semillons and two Shiraz with four sensational Hunter Valley cheeses from Binnorie Dairy and Hunter Belle Cheese. This is an event that will take your tastebuds on a journey you won’t forget! Daily in May and June.

Ocean to Paddock
RidgeView Degustation Executive chef Donna Hollis draws inspiration from the local culinary offerings to bring you a seven-course degustation feast matched with RidgeView wines. A gastronomic journey from the Ocean to the Paddock. Saturday June 22.

Harvest Lunch Series
Margan Restaurant Margan joins forces with local producers to present a delicious five-course lunch showcasing the best Hunter Valley produce and the people behind it. Sunday 30 June SMOKEY SUNDAYS Matilda Bay Brewhouse Roll up those sleeves and tuck into good old’ fashioned comfort food with a slow-cooked Texan barbecue, matched with brews. Every Sunday in May and June.

Tulloch Wine and Goose on the Loose
Salami and Wine Pairing Tulloch Wines have partnered with Australia’s finest artisan salami makers Goose on the Loose for this fun and interactive wine tasting experience. Daily in May and June.

Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight
A highlight this year will be the highly-anticipated tenth annual Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight on 17 June when leading Hunter Valley chefs go head to head with the best chefs on the Sydney restaurant scene. Monday June 17.

Oaks and Vine Masterclass
Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort A culinary masterclass experience lead by award winning Executive Chef Praveen Leelavathy and Head Chef Viktoria Markwell Burgmann. Prepare your own two-course meal accompanied by a glass of bubbles to finish. Every Wednesday in May and June.

Vineyard Tour, Wine Tasting and Blending Workshop
Briar Ridge Winery Immerse yourself in this 2.5 hour experience from vine to bottle. A guided vineyard tour, wine tasting matched with cheese, blend your own wine then finish off with a blind-tasting judged by our own winemaker. May 11 and June 22.

To find out more about this year’s Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival click here.

Where to stay

With accommodation and experience packages for every budget, the Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival is the perfect opportunity for a lovely winter getaway.

Hunter Valley Hot Air Ballon Festival

Ingenia Holidays Hunter Valley
From poolside villas to budget cabins and a number of caravan and camping sites, Ingenia offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Pets are welcome to stay too!

Powered sites from $35 per night
Midweek stays starting from $25 per night
Stay for 4 nights, pay 3 – promotion available too

Wine Country Tourist Park
As the closest caravan park to the vineyards, be charmed by this small, welcoming and budget friendly accommodation option in the heart of the Hunter Valley.

$30 per night Sun-Thurs
$40 per night Fri-Sat
(Prices based on 2 adults. $10 per extra adult and $5 per child)

Wollombi Tavern
Good old fashioned hospitality in the historic colonial village of Wollombi. Spend a night or two in Friar Jurd’s self-contained log cabin style accommodation  or camp in the Tavern grounds for FREE!

Camping is FREE but please note there are NO showers, but toilets are open 24/7. Dogs are allowed as long as they on a lead and no BYO while the Tavern is open.

Hotels and Resorts
Grand Mercure The Vintage Hunter Valley  from $256 per night
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley from $180 per night
Hunter Valley Resort from $155 per night

The Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival aims to celebrate the finest drops and award-winning food that the picturesque region is famed for. With something for everyone be sure to book early so you don’t miss out!

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